Sydney Martin Memorial Lecture

The 2023 Sydney Martin Memorial Lecture

Register for the 2023 Sydney Martin Memorial Lecture

Revd Dr Raj PattaSubaltern Public Theology: Foraging implications for a 21 st century post-secular British public sphere

  • When theology goes public the subaltern way, subaltern public theology evolves. In that evolution, the search for its implications within a 21st century post secular British public sphere today becomes immanent. Public theology thus far has been engaging on a theological relevance of public issues. But subaltern public theology offers a different perspective of public theology which is to engage on the public character of theology in the public sphere from the sites of subalternity. The British public sphere in the 21st century has been post-secular with faith(s) now on the margins according to the recent census, xenophobia on the rise, hunger and poverty growing by leaps and bounds due to the rise of the cost of living and dehumanisation of people seeking sanctuary continuing unabated. In such a context, subaltern public theology with its de-colonial methodology offers a new vision for a public God-talk from the sites of subalternity, unsettling both theos and logos in theology by seeking to explore public character and public meaning of theology today with an aim to transform our public sphere.

Raj Bharat Patta, celebrates his identities in multiple belongings, which include Dalit, Christian, Asian, (Im)migrant, theology, ministry, Lutheran, Methodist, India, British, church, academy, postcolonial, public sphere, husband, father and friend. Though a Lutheran minister from India, he currently serves as a recognised and regarded minister of the Methodist Church in Britain at the United Stockport Circuit. He completed his PhD from the University of Manchester. He is an author of Subaltern Public Theology: Dalits and the Indian Public Sphere (2023).

  • Date: 26th June 2023
  • Time: 7:30pm – 9:00pm

You can view recordings of several previous lectures on our Public Lectures Playlist.

Past Lectures

  • 2009: Revd Richard Bewes
  • 2010: Prof Paul Ballard: ‘The Bible in Theological Practice’
  • 2011: Prof David Lyall: ‘Theological Reflection in Ministry’
  • 2012: Revd Canon Prof James Woodward: ‘Befriending the Elderly Stranger? Re-Imagining the Theology of Age’
  • 2013: Prof Michael Lodahl: ‘”For Each People an Open Road”: The Qur’an’s Interpretation of Religious Diversity’
  • 2014: Dr Nigel Wright: ‘Godhood and personhood’
  • 2015: Dare to Dream – no lecture
  • 2016: Dr Helen Cameron: ‘Justice-Seeking: Practical Politics for Local Churches’
  • 2017: Dr Sally Nelson: ‘From Here to Eternity: Human Pain in the Divine Story’
  • 2018: Prof Chris Baker: ‘Searching for “God” after God: Public Theology in an Age of Re-enchantment’
  • 2019: Dr Eric Stoddart: ‘Keeping an Eye on Surveillance’
  • 2020: Prof David Clough: ‘Christian Ethics and Eating Animals’
  • 2021: Dr Dulcie Dixon McKenzie: ‘The Future of the Past: Preserving, Valuing, and Passing on the Legacy of African Caribbean Pentecostal Congregational Worship’
  • 2022 Professor Robert Beckford: ‘Decolonising Gospel Music: A Practical Musicological Guide’

More about the Sydney Martin Memorial Lecture

An annual lecture in practical and social theology in memory of Revd Dr Sydney Martin.

The Revd Dr Sydney Martin, who died at the age of 93 on 2nd August 2004, was one of a generation of evangelical ministers who had a significant influence in the city of Glasgow in the 1950s and 1960s.

Coming to the Sharpe Memorial Church in Parkhead in 1950, he was to serve there for twenty-five years, including among his contemporaries Dr Nelson Gray at Parkhead Congregational Church and Rev. George Duncan at St George’s Tron.

The first decade of his ministry was the era of population movement, when thousands moved out of the east end of the city to the new housing schemes at Barlanark, Easterhouse and Castlemilk, and under Sydney Martin’s leadership, Sharpe Memorial opened a branch church in Barlanark. The 1950s also saw the Billy Graham Kelvin Hall Crusade, and although he would not have regarded himself as primarily an evangelist, Sydney Martin was one of the many city ministers who threw their whole weight behind that very influential crusade.

His passion was preaching and it was rumoured that he spent up to 26 hours per week preparing to preach two sermons every Sunday (about 30 minutes each), plus a Wednesday evening meditation at the church prayer meeting.

He would also be a familiar face in the classrooms of NTC providing lectures in Pastoral Theology. In memorial to Dr Martin the library desks were presented to the college and each year a lecture is given to reflect the practical and social theology that was reflected in the ministry of Rev. Dr Sydney Martin.